In Memoriam: Eleanor Winsor Leach

(Provided by Ann Vasaly [FAAR 1983, RAAR 2010])

Eleanor Winsor Leach (1937-2018)

On February 19th it was learned that Eleanor Winsor Leach, Ruth N. Halls Professor of Classics at Indiana University, had passed away at the age of 80.  At the suggestion of Brian Rose, I wanted to take the opportunity to write to the Advisory Council of the important role she played in her chosen profession and her devotion throughout her career to the American Academy.

Let me begin with Ellie’s contribution to scholarship.  Aside from the sheer quantity of her work (three books published, with a fourth book recently completed, more than 50 articles, more than 100 lectures), one is struck by its coherence.  Beginning with her Yale dissertation on Ovid and Chaucer, she always displayed a strong interdisciplinary bent, seeking to read Latin texts, especially poetry of the Augustan period, against their contemporary social, political, and cultural background.  Her subtle analyses of an astonishing range of Latin authors led to new ways of looking at literary texts—at once closely tied to particular authors, yet at the same time reflecting in complex ways various aspects of a broader cultural mentalité.  Starting in the 1980’s, Ellie also began to integrate the study of Roman painting, monuments, and topography into her work on ancient literature, bringing insights to visual narrativity in particular that complemented her explorations of textual narrative.  While she eventually won widespread acceptance as a leading exponent of form and meaning in these fields, I well remember a time when courage and persistence were required for her to continue these studies, as she met a good deal of resistance from some established figures in the field.  Ellie was thus a scholar of extraordinary commitment and talent, who created over the course of her career a remarkable body of work as well as an extensive network of scholars, young and old, with whom she communicated, since her passion for scholarship made her eager to share her own ideas and hear those of others.  

While many scholars of correspondingly high stature devote the majority of their time to research and writing, contributing much less extensively to pedagogy, administration, or service to the field, Ellie’s vita includes almost as many lines devoted to the latter areas — including presidency of the Society of Classical Studies (formerly, the American Philological Association) — as those listing her publications.  While raising a daughter, teaching a diverse range of courses, chairing her department for an extended period (1975-1985), and serving her university and the profession in a wide variety of leadership roles, she directed more than twenty dissertations, wrote letters for some 200 tenure and promotion cases, and refereed more than 100 books and 200 articles for various presses and journals.  Her impact, then, on a generation of scholars, especially younger scholars, was extensive, especially reflected by the presence of many of her former students in classics departments throughout the country.

Ellie’s association with, and deep affection for, the Academy goes back many years, beginning with service on the Classical Jury from 1980-1982 and a stay as Resident in Fall of 1983.  In subsequent years (1986, 1989, 2008) she conducted three NEH summer seminars at the Academy, which in many cases proved seminal for the work of the students and faculty who took part in them.  In recent years she has been a familiar presence at the annual Classical Summer School, frequently accompanying the group on site visits and generously volunteering to give guest lectures on monuments, wall painting, and Roman topography.  The Classical Summer School was, in fact, very much on her mind in the last months of her life.  As she contemplated the final disposition of her affairs, she decided nothing could give her greater satisfaction than to earmark as a special gift to the CSS a generous sum that had accrued from bonds long ago purchased for her by her parents and which had matured over the course of her lifetime. 

It is therefore a solace for those of us who knew and admired her to realize that the impact of her vivid presence and dynamic intelligence will continue to be felt long into the future: through her many publications, her inspiring teaching, her lively conversations, and her generous donation to the Academy.

(Compiled by Matt Christ, with contributions from Ann Vasaly and Teresa Ramsby)

Eleanor Winsor Leach, Ruth N. Halls Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, died on Friday, February 16, at the age of 80. It was characteristic of her indomitable spirit and absolute commitment to her field that she remained active as teacher and scholar up until the very end of her life. She will be remembered as an innovative scholar, a dedicated teacher and mentor, and a major contributor to her profession.

Ellie was born on August 16, 1937, in Providence, Rhode Island. Although her career ultimately brought her to the Midwest, she remained a New Englander at heart who was undaunted by Bloomington winters as a veteran of many a nor’easter. Her undergraduate years at Bryn Mawr College, where she took her A.B. magna cum laude with honors in Latin in 1959, not only laid the foundation for her future vocation but steeled her to enter a discipline and profession dominated at that time by men; she spoke frequently and fondly of her years at Bryn Mawr, and was a proud and loyal alumna. Ellie went on to earn her Ph.D. in English and Latin at Yale in 1963 with a dissertation on Ovid and Chaucer, which was a precursor of her interdisciplinary bent throughout her career. Ellie went on to teach at Bryn Mawr (1962-66), Villanova University (1966-71), University of Texas at Austin (1972-74), and Wesleyan University (1974-76). In 1977, she moved to Indiana University, Bloomington, as the only tenured woman in the Department of Classical Studies at the time, and soon became chair (1978-1985); later, she served as Director of Graduate Studies for nearly twenty years (1997-2016).

The wide scope of Ellie’s scholarship is attested by the titles of her four books:  Vergil's Eclogues: Landscapes of Experience (Ithaca, 1974); The Rhetoric of Space: Literary and Artistic Representations of Landscape in Republican and Augustan Rome

(Princeton, 1988); The Social Life of Painting in Ancient Rome and on the Bay of Naples (Cambridge, 2004); and Epistolary Dialogues: Constructions of Self and Others in the Letters of Cicero and the Younger Pliny (forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press). Ellie sought to read Latin texts against their contemporary social, political, and cultural background. Her subtle analyses of an astonishing range of Latin authors led to new ways of looking at literary texts—at once closely tied to particular authors, yet at the same time reflecting in complex ways various aspects of a broader cultural mentalité. Starting in the 1980’s, Ellie also began to integrate the study of Roman painting, monuments, and topography into her work on ancient literature, bringing insights to visual narrativity in particular that complemented her explorations of textual narrative. While she eventually won widespread acceptance as a leading exponent of form and meaning in these fields, courage and persistence were required for her to continue these studies, as she met a good deal of resistance from some established figures in the field. Ellie set forth her ideas not only through her books but in over fifty articles and over a hundred invited lectures in the US and the UK, including numerous titled lectures. Her original and creative work won her ACLS, NEH, and Guggenheim fellowships, and many other awards and distinctions.

As teacher and mentor, Ellie had a huge impact on her students, especially on the twenty-six graduate students who wrote dissertations under her guidance at Indiana University. As a classroom instructor, Ellie conveyed her love of ideas, whether in the year-long graduate survey of Latin Literature she taught in alternate years or her introduction to literary criticism for classicists; she encouraged her students to test out new approaches to classical texts, and took great pleasure in the discoveries they made and their pursuit of these in professional papers, dissertations, articles, and books. Her commitment to her students did not stop when they received their degrees, as she supported and mentored them as they pursued their own careers in classics; she regarded her students as part of her extended family, and took great pleasure in hearing of their personal and professional adventures after leaving Indiana University. Ellie’s personal touch was also evident in the way she cultivated a community among graduate students, whom she entertained frequently in her home (her annual celebration of Horace’s birthday was a major event). As one current graduate student put it, “She was just an absolute treasure.”

Ellie’s service to her profession was remarkable. While her contributions to the Society for Classical Studies (formerly, the American Philological Association) culminated in her presidency in 2005, she served it in a wide range of capacities, from fund-raising to membership on the Publications Committee; as Vice-President for the Program Division (1991-94), she helped usher in a new, more open process for members to participate in, and organize panels, for the annual program. She was a trustee of the Vergilian Society (1978-93) and second and then first vice-president of it (1989-92). Ellie’s association with, and deep affection for, the American Academy in Rome, began with service on the Classical Jury (1980-82) and a stay as Resident (Fall 1983).  In subsequent years (1986, 1989, 2008) she conducted three NEH summer seminars at the Academy, which in many cases proved seminal for the work of the students and faculty who took part in them; in recent years, she was a familiar presence at the annual Classical Summer School, frequently accompanying the group on site visits and generously volunteering to give guest lectures on monuments, wall painting, and Roman topography. She was active in regional classical associations, especially CAMWS, and closer to home, was a great supporter of the Indiana Classical Conference, and served as president of the central Indiana chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America (1985-87). Less conspicuous, but equally impressive, is the fact that Ellie wrote letters for some 200 tenure and promotion cases, and refereed more than 100 books and 200 articles for various presses and journals.

Although Ellie’s vocation as classicist occupied her seven days a week, she had many other interests and passions. She was an avid reader of literature, ancient and modern; a devotee of NPR (she never owned a TV); a lover of opera (every Saturday afternoon, she listened to the Metropolitan Opera on her radio at her office); and a fan of baseball, which she regarded as a more cerebral sport than football. Ellie loved to travel, especially to Italy, where work and pleasure came together for her almost every summer. Her many students, friends, colleagues, and peers all over the world are very sorry for her passing, and will long remember her. She was a consummate scholar and teacher, and an inspiration to all who knew her. Ellie is survived by her daughter, Harriet, of Louisville, Kentucky, and her former husband, Peter, of St. Louis, Missouri.

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(Photo 1: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Photo 2: "Eleanor Winsor Leach" by Teresa Ramsby, used with permission)   

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"Fly me to the moon" The moon in human imagination
University of Genova (Italy) December 12th-13th 2019

From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that landed a dozen Americans on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972.

All kind of events, activities, exhibitions, seminars dedicated to celebrating the first moon landing are understandably spreading everywhere and we want to join the celebrations in our own way.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 02/20/2019 - 12:20pm by Erik Shell.

(Written by Meredith Hoppin, Department of Classics, Williams College)

Charles John Fuqua, Garfield Professor of Ancient Languages Emeritus at Williams College, died peacefully at his home in Williamstown, Massachusetts on 19 January 2019, his wife, three children, and grandchild at his side. He was 83 years old.

Charlie was born on 5 October 1935 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Princeton University in 1957. Charlie served in the U. S. Navy for three years and in the Naval Reserves for eight more, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. While a graduate student at Cornell, where he studied with Gordon Kirkwood, Charlie met and married a fellow graduate student in Classics, Mary Louis Morse of Vermont. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1964 and teaching at Dartmouth for two years, in 1966 Charlie came to Williams to chair the Classics Department, which he did for the next twenty years. Charlie arrived at the college when it was just embarking on momentous changes, including expanding the size of the student body, admitting women, and recruiting a substantially more diverse set of faculty, staff, and students. Charlie participated actively in ensuring the success of these changes, within the department and throughout the college.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:50am by Erik Shell.

Like many others, I'm trying to funnel the anger and frustration that I felt at our panel on the "Future of Classics" at the Annual Meeting in San Diego toward taking action that can make a difference, even on a small scale.  At the panel Professor Sarah Bond and Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta promptly condemned the comments a speaker from the audience made about Dan-el as well as her intellectually and politically regressive defense of classical studies.   My thoughts here are intended to carry forward their energetic advocacy. 

To combat racist attitudes and assumptions that persist not only at the margins of the field but among and around us, we must act now on our home campuses and schools.  Here are five ideas to get us started.  There are many more.  It’s important to note that at some schools, faculty and students are already acting on these ideas or better versions of them.  They arise from my experience as a university administrator, where I've seen countless discussions about diversity go in circles until faculty, students, and staff commit together to do specific things within a short time frame.  They are designed for use at college and university campuses, the world I know best, but K-12 teachers and scholars are included here, and I welcome ideas from this crucially important sector of our field. 

Ideas for action in the coming 30-60 days 
 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/15/2019 - 7:16am by Joy Connolly.

We have now reviewed the video of the Panel on the Future of Classics, which will be disseminated online today, February 14, 2019. 

The video makes it clear that what was said to Prof. Padilla Peralta was: “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think you got your job because of merit.”

Despite this factual correction to Presidential letter of 1/10/19, the SCS leadership stands by the substance of the Presidential letter and the actions taken onsite in San Diego, which have been reviewed by the Professional Ethics Committee. We repeat here that the future of classical studies depends on expansion, inclusion, and focused attention on and action to remedy the under-representation of people of color in Classics.

Mary T. Boatwright

SCS President

(Update: the Future of Classics video is now available on the SCS YouTube Channel)

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Thu, 02/14/2019 - 9:27am by Helen Cullyer.

Celebrating the Divine — Roman Festivals in Art, Religion, and Literature

University of Virginia, 30–31 August 2019

Festivals are ubiquitous in the life of the Roman world, and so are their depictions in ancient art and texts. Reliefs, mosaics and paintings, but also coins all show scenes of festivity. Very often, these images reflect on the relationship of humans and gods and the special encounter between both spheres that takes place in a festive context. In literary texts, feast days often occupy a prominent position: they are crucial for the preservation of memory and identity, but they also mark fateful beginnings or momentous endings in a narrative and act as privileged sites of self-definition for individuals or the community.

This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together scholars of literature, art, and religion to examine how Roman festivals are represented in different media and to explore the functions of such representations.

Possible questions include, but are by no means limited to the following:

How does one depict the particular type of event that is the festival? Is there a typical ‘festive scenery,’ and what are its elements? What are the techniques used for depicting the festive encounter of mortals and gods? How can the secret rites of the Mysteries be represented?

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:06am by Erik Shell.

The conference is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Science of Montenegro and will be held in Herceg Novi, an ancient town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and an intersecting point of different cultures during ancient and medieval times.

As one of the institutions participating in the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action entitled Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe, the Center for Hellenic Studies organized a series of lectures, presentations and round tables, participated by eminent experts in philosophy, history, political theory, theology, classics, and other disciplines. As the final phase of the project, the Center deemed opportune to initiate a debate on the achievements, values and guide marks that Hellenic political philosophy can have for contemporary Europe, in which the apprehension of the political is chiefly reduced to the interests of powers and corporations, being thus exclusively linked to the technique of conquering and maintaining dominance.

Ancient Hellenic conception, that gave birth to notions like freedom, democracy, parrhesia, publicity and other, reminds us that ancient Greeks understood politics not only as a fundamental designation of human beings – as, according to Aristotle, anyone who does not partake of society is either a beast or a god – but also as inseparably linked to ethics.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 10:02am by Erik Shell.

The program submission system is now open and accepting proposals.

You can visit the main page at https://program.classicalstudies.org/

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/11/2019 - 9:31am by Erik Shell.

The Odyssey: A Staged Reading and Discussion
Date/Time: March 15th, 7.30pm
Venue: Fishman Space, BAM Fisher (321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217)

A distant war, a long-awaited return, a journey back, a homecoming, a wife and husband, and revenge: the arc of Homer’s Odyssey comes to life in Emily Wilson’s translation that is both contemporary and faithful to the musicality and physicality of the ancient Greek epic. Join the Aquila Theatre and Emily Wilson for a staged reading of an abbreviated version of Wilson’s translation; and a post-show discussion with the translator, an actor and veteran from Aquila’s Warrior Chorus, and a veteran’s partner. What does the Odyssey mean today to veterans and their families? What does Wilson’s new translation in iambic pentameter bring to the text that others have missed? How does performance help us to experience the Odyssey in new ways?

Ticket Price: FREE

PLEASE RESERVE TICKETS AThttps://odysseystagedreading.brownpapertickets.com

Rental Disclaimer:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 12:59pm by Erik Shell.
Apadana Hall, 5th century BC carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume. CC BY-SA 3.0.

'Addressing the Divide' is a new column that looks at the ways in which the modern field of Classics was constructed and then explores ways to identify, modify, or simply abolish the lines between fields in order to embrace broader ideas of what Classics was, is, and could be. This month, Prof. Catherine Bonesho, an Assistant Professor at UCLA who specializes in the ancient history of Judaism and the Near East, speaks to classicist and Herodotus scholar Prof. Rachel Hart. 

Where you work—and who you work with—can make a world of difference. A good chair, a charged computer, and my books were at one point all I thought I needed in my research. However, while still a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I realized that it’s not just where you work or what your work is, but the colleagues you work with. 

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 02/07/2019 - 8:15pm by Catherine Bonesho.

Resolution approved by the Board of Directors of the SCS, Jan. 6, 2019

The SCS Board of Directors approved the following recommendation at its meeting on January 6, 2019. It will be communicated to journal editors and to classics editors at relevant presses, that is, those whose publications fall under the responsibility of the American Office. We will also investigate whether the recommendation can be more widely discussed and adopted.

Board Resolution

In view of the ever-growing number of articles and chapters in collective volumes that the American Office for L’Année philologique is responsible for processing, it is the strong recommendation of the SCS that journal and volume editors regard it as a best practice and a routine adjunct of the publication process that each article or chapter be accompanied by a brief abstract and a list of keywords.

To ensure the utility of abstracts and keywords for the efficient compilation of data for APh, please take note of the following guidelines:

1. The abstract should give a concise but informative summary of the article’s or chapter’s content, indicating important points of argumentation and main conclusions.

2. The abstract should refer to the types of evidence adduced in drawing these conclusions, and give specific information about the most important items.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 2:03pm by Erik Shell.

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(Written by Meredith Hoppin, Department of Classics, Williams College
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The Odyssey: A Staged Reading and Discussion
Presidential Letters
We have now reviewed the video of the Panel on the Future of Classics, which

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